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British authorities tighten visa regulations for skilled foreign workers

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British authorities tighten visa regulations for skilled foreign workers

London: Britain's Home Office on Tuesday tightened visa regulations for skilled workers, forcing employers to prove they had no option before hiring a foreigner.

Under the new rules, potential workers will also be judged on their age and their ability to speak English, and the amount of money they earn. Potential migrants earning more than 24,000 pounds a year (US$48,000) would have a simpler time than those earning less. "Our new points system means that British job seekers get the first crack of the whip and that only the skilled migrants we actually need will be able to come." said Liam Byrne, the immigration minister.

More to come: The new regulations are part of the government's attempts to limit levels of immigration and will affect thousands of computer programmers, lab technicians, midwives and other skilled labourers that come to work in Britain annually. Another set of rules that covers students and temporary workers will be announced later in the year. It is part of a larger immigration measure meant to make Britain more selective in choosing whom it allows into the country. It is based on a similar Australian programme and was put into place in February.

Had the new regulations been in operation last year, the Home Office said 20,000 people would have not been allowed into the country. That figure represents about 10 percent of the workers who came to Britain from outside Europe. The new rules will not affect the movement of people from within the European Union, Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland. Ap

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